Mr James Hoy: An order confirming, with modifications, the White Fish Authority (General Levy) Regulations, 1969, was laid on 5th February, together with a draft order to confirm, with modifications, the White Fish Authority Publicity Scheme, 1969. The new general levy rates take effect from 15th February. A date for the operation of the publicity levy will he set when the order is confirmed.
Mr James Hoy: A later Question appears on the Order Paper from another hon. Member about fishmeal, and the hon. Gentleman will therefore not expect me to answer that part of his supplementary question now. The present rate of the general levy, which is 1d. per stone, has stood since July, 1963. Research and development calls for a considerable amount of money, and we hope to provide it from this levy.
Mr James Hoy: I agree with my hon. Friend in that everybody wants something to be done about something. I also agree that there is always a fair amount of unanimity when it comes to people not wanting to pay. I am not being unfair to the fishing industry when I say that one would not regard its opinion as always being unanimous. This being so, the Government must reach the best decision they can in an...
Mr James Hoy: I have nothing to add to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 22nd January.—[Vol 794, c. 187.]
Mr James Hoy: The answer to the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is that there will be no Government contribution. The answer to the first part is that we are consulting the authority about certain modifications to the scheme, and we hope to make an announcement shortly.
Mr James Hoy: That has been our concern from the beginning. The Instrument confirming the scheme will be subject to the affirmative procedure of both Houses, which means that when we have the scheme before us hon. Members will have an opportunity to debate it. Again, I cannot say that there is unanimity of opinion in the fishing industry about the value or otherwise of the scheme.
Mr James Hoy: Perhaps the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. The only scheme we are considering at present is the Scottish one. No schemes are before us for the rest of the United Kingdom. The Scots decided to go on with a scheme of their own. I understood that the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) had the Scottish scheme in mind when he tabled the Question. I have, therefore, been referring all...
Mr James Hoy: It is not possible to forecast the number of pigs likely to be exported for slaughter in 1970, since this will depend on a number of factors, including market conditions in this country and abroad. I would refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) on 4th February.—[Vol. 795, c. 139–40.]
Mr James Hoy: I urge the hon. Gentleman to make up his mind just what he wants the Government to do in this respect. Last year, along with some of his hon. Friends and certain newspaper commentators, he was complaining about our having allowed cattle to be exported, paid for by Government subsidy. Because of what we found in the case of pigs—for example, certain traders complained about the number being...
Mr James Hoy: I do not think so. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the Bacon Sharing Agreement has resulted in considerable progress having been made on behalf of the British bacon curer. Nor should we forget the stabilisation scheme. This, too, has proved helpful to the industry. We want to help the industry still further, but those who produce also have a responsibility to the consumer.
Mr James Hoy: Import figures for January are not yet available but I understand that purchases reported last month were mainly for barley to be delivered later this year during the preharvest period. Barley may be imported from any country but the home market is safeguarded by the minimum import price arrangements.
Mr James Hoy: I am not discounting anything, but I will not seek to confirm or deny rumours. Our own industry is guaranteed by the minimum import price, and even if there were imports, they could not fall below that price.
Mr James Hoy: The levy does not come into operation until 15th February, but as it represents only about half of 1 per cent. of the current price of imported fishmeal, any effect will be small in comparison with the effects of market fluctuations. The levy is being applied to herring meal by a direction under section 4(9) of the Sea Fisheries Act, 1968.
Mr James Hoy: We hope to make regulations within the next two months. These will require any scheduled active ingredients to be named clearly and conspicuously on the label. My right hon. Friend will consider further regulations requiring an indication of toxicity in the light of the discussions we are now having with certain other countries in the Council of Europe.
Mr James Hoy: I assure my hon. Friend that I appreciate her feelings in the matter, but the delay will not be due to us. We are doing our best to speed things up.
Mr James Hoy: About three-quarters of Icelandic exports to the United Kingdom, including fresh and frozen whole fish, will be unaffected. The effects of the removal of the 10 per cent. tariff on other fishery products are likely to be less important than those arising from general factors such as fluctuations in the level of production and changes in the attractiveness of other markets, especially in view...
Mr James Hoy: We hope that they will be sufficient, but we have other reserve powers if they prove not to be.
Mr James Hoy: In our dealings with our E.F.T.A. partners we have always had great co-operation, and I am grateful that the House thinks that the latest agreement is one more example of that.
Mr James Hoy: We hope that that has been safeguarded. When we enter into agreements of this kind the policing will be done by the exporting countries, and we hope that they will go about it in a responsible way. We have no reason to doubt that they will do anything other than that.
Mr James Hoy: The breeding flock in the United Kingdom numbered 14,223,000 at June, 1967, 13,873,000 at June, 1968 and 13,315,000 at June, 1969.